Northern Ireland

Police form group to tackle cash machine thefts

Digger outside filling station
Image caption A digger was used to steal an ATM machine from a filling station wall in Dungannon on Sunday

The PSNI has formed a team of detectives to investigate cash machine thefts.

Police say there has been "an upsurge" in the number of built-in ATMs being ripped from the walls of commercial properties by plant machinery.

Det Insp Richard Thornton said there has been seven attacks in the last four months.

"That is seven communities suffering due to the greed of unscrupulous criminals," Mr Thornton added.

He said often the machinery used to steal the cash machines has been stolen.

On Sunday an ATM was ripped from a filling station wall in Dungannon, County Tyrone.

Image copyright PSNI

Police believe the digger was stolen from a business a short distance away from the filling station on the Ballygawley Road.

The digger was set alight after the theft.

In February, the PSNI said it was investigating a possible link between a recent spate of ATM thefts in Northern Ireland.

"The idea that ATM thefts are a victimless crime should be completely discounted," Det Insp Richard Thornton said.

"These attacks cause untold loss and disruption to individuals, businesses and whole communities, in terms of the loss of very expensive machinery, delays in production, damage to the local economy and the likelihood of criminal finances being redirected back into funding further organised crime or terrorism."

He also appealed for information on these attacks.

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